A summit of European Union leaders began on Friday to discuss coronavirus recovery strategies, including a 1.85 trillion euro recovery fund. Leaders failed to reach an agreement following the summit’s fourth day, but eventually reached a $2.1 trillion deal Tuesday (AP 2). Disagreements between the pro-recovery spending Franco-German coalition and the so called “frugals,” being the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Denmark and Finland continued throughout the meeting. In the end, the Franco-German coalition won out with a 750 billion-euro COVID-19 fund in addition to the 1 trillion-euro EU budget (AP 2).
Tempers flared during the proceedings, with French President Emmanuel Macron slamming his fist on a table and multiple leaders threatening walkouts (AP 1). In wake of the tense atmosphere, EU Council President Charles Michel reminded leaders of the summit’s mission and the need to unite in a heartfelt speech. Michel asked the leaders “Are the 27 EU leaders capable of building European unity…or will we present ourselves as a weak Europe?” (Yahoo News). “Frugal” leader Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said of the infighting and the agreed budget: “We can all take a hit. After all, there are presidents among us.” (AP 2)